NASHVILLE – The state of Tennessee issued citations to Bean Station-based Southeastern Provision LLC for numerous safety and health violations and proposed more than $41,000 in fines. The action came after the owner, James Brantley entered a guilty plea to federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud and employment of undocumented workers.
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) found a total of 27 violations, 23 of which were categorized as serious. For example, TOSHA cited the meatpacker for failing to provide workers with protective equipment “…when employees completed tasks including, but not limited to, using a torch to remove hooves from cows.” The company also was cited for failing to provide protective equipment to employees who used knives to trim or process meat.
Other violations included failing to provide adequate facilities for quick flushing of the eyes and body when workers potentially were exposed to corrosive materials; failing to ensure proper hazardous chemical training for employees and failing to provide women’s lavatories.
The violations came to light following a federal raid on the facility in April. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 97 individuals with some of them facing deportation proceedings.
As part of the plea, Brantley agreed to pay the Internal Revenue Service $1,296,183 in addition to $127,405 in restitution to W.R. Berkley which served as Southeastern Provision’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.